$10K Drag Shootout 2, Episode 1: "The Arrival"

$10K Drag Shootout 2, Episode 1: “The Arrival”

The first season of the Horsepower Wars $10K Drag Shootout was absolutely packed with action and drama that provided viewers with ample entertainment. Now, season two of the $10K Drag Shootout is on the chip and ready to launch with new twists, new challenges, and a new location for the final showdown of budget-built racecars.

This year the competition features two new teams joining the show: Team Enemies Everywhere from Australia and Team Midwest Mayhem. The COMP Cams Dream Team has returned for season two with a new lineup, along with last year’s winners: Team Bigun. Every team knows how much the $10K Drag Shootout will challenge their skills as builders and racers.

The $10K Drag Shootout Competition Explained

Boiling down the $10K Drag Shootout reveals that as a team you have to build the fastest car possible on an insane timeline while only having access to $10,000. The budget for the build consists of $7,000 in gift cards from Summit Racing Equipment and $3,000 in cash. Teams can use the gift cards at Summit Racing to purchase whatever they need to complete their rides. With the $3,000 in cash, each team will need to purchase their car and buy the best used parts they can find.

The ultimate goal of this mechanical torture test is to create a car that not only runs but can smash the other teams in head-to-head competition on the track. Building a racecar is far from an easy task, but when you mix in a small budget and tight timeline it becomes even more difficult. Every team in the $10K Drag Shootout thinks it can win and is ready to prove it.

To demonstrate they have the fastest car, the four teams will head to South Georgia Motorsports Park during No Mercy 10 on the weekend of October 17-20. This is one of the biggest events in drag racing and will be the perfect backdrop for the final showdown of the $10K Drag Shootout. Each team will have an opportunity to get a crack at the track during qualifying. After that, they race heads-up for the cash and the opportunity to take their car home. If you can’t make it to No Mercy to see everything unfold in person, don’t worry, as SpeedVideo.com will show each race of the $10K Drag Shootout LIVE right here.

$10K Drag Shootout Sponsors

It takes a lot to make the $10K Drag Shootout happen and there are some amazing companies that help out. Once again, Summit Racing Equipment assisted by providing the money for each team’s builds along with the prize money they will be racing for.

For the second season of the $10K Drag Shootout, many other companies joined Summit Racing Equipment to bring the show to life. Companies like COMP Cams, K&N Filters, MAHLE, Moser Engineering, Victor-Reinz Gaskets, SpeedWire, Total Seal, US Gear, Spectre Performance, E3 Spark Plugs, E3 Ignition Components, PRW, ARP, Fragola, Aerospace Components, Lucas Oil, DynaBatt, Mickey Thompson Tires, Moroso, and VP Racing Fuels all came on board to make sure the teams had the parts needed to go fast.

Teams Of The $10K Drag Shootout

For this year’s edition of the $10K Drag Shootout, there were a flood of applications. Teams from all over the world wanted to come and test their skills against the best builders to see who could become the $10K Drag Shootout Champion. After the grueling selection process and popular vote, the two newest teams were chosen for the $10K Drag Shootout along with the members of the COMP Cams Dream Team. These three teams and last year’s $10K Drag Shootout champion Team Bigun are some amazing builders and are ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

Team Enemies Everywhere makes this season of the $10K Drag Shootout truly an international affair since they all call different parts of Australia home. The members of the team include leader Jamie Farmer, along with Robbie Abbot, Steve Metcalfe, Nathen Clarke, Kevy Morton, and Ross Wye. There is a lot of experience that covers all forms of drag racing on this team. They’re confident the $10K Drag Shootout title is coming home to the land down under.

Team Midwest Mayhem is of a group of friends that spend every waking minute thinking about drag racing. Team leader Joe Hunt brings his team consisting of Joey Hiykel, Chad Fegley, Brad Vasko, and Josh Walton to the show. These guys have a lot of experience working on a tight budget and can extract the most performance possible out of what they have.

The Comp Cams Dream Team brings an assortment of talented individuals and big personalities to the $10K Drag Shootout. Dave Henninger from COMP Cams will serve as the team’s leader this year and he has assembled a team of builders who have an aptitude for making horsepower. Keith Berry, Jim Styke, Jesse Adams, Donald Abenante, and Jorge Ramos make up Henninger’s COMP Cams Dream Team.

Last year, Team Bigun took out The COMP Cams Dream Team with their Beer Money Mustang to win the inaugural $10K Drag Shootout. Eric Yost leads Pete Harrell, Lyle Barnett, Chad Reynolds, Chris Bailey, and Jason Smith as they attempt to repeat as $10K Drag Shootout champions.

The Machines Of The $10K Drag Shootout

Part of what makes the $10K Drag Shootout a challenge is the interesting mix of vehicles the teams get to choose from. Once again we searched high and low and found some of the finest budget rides Craigslist had to offer. These cars may look rough to start with, but when the teams are done they will be transformed into purpose-built racing machinery.

The 1998 Camaro is a tricky choice for a team that has to tackle this as their $10K Drag Shootout vehicle. While the structure of the car is fine, the engine placement will be a challenge when it comes time to replace the V6 that currently rests under the hood. The rearend will also need to be upgraded, along with the transmission.

Who says trucks can’t be fast? The 1984 S10 could be a solid selection since it has room for a variety of engines. The leaf spring suspension could be a turnoff for some teams along with the less-than-ideal weight bias the truck has front to rear.

The 1979 Oldsmobile Cutlass definitely has a face only a mother could love, with its rough primer paint job and rust that’s spread throughout the car. It does offer a lot of options when it comes to the engine and transmission a team could use, but it will still need a lot of work to be track-worthy.

Rounding out the cars of the $10K Drag Shootout for 2019 is a 2004 New Edge Mustang that has seen better days. This Ford has some core support and light body damage, along with a hood that just won’t open. Whatever team gets this car could have a solid base to start with due to the large selection of aftermarket parts available.

Time For Competition: The $10K Olympics

Kicking things off again this year at the $10K Drag Shootout is the always-entertaining $10K Olympics. The teams battle it out in an Olympic-style competition to determine who will get the first choice in selecting a vehicle to build. There are a total of five challenges that each team had to compete in while trying to record the quickest time possible. If they made a mistake or broke a rule there would be time tacked onto their run, which could spell disaster for the vehicle selection hopes.

The teams first had to take on the Summit Racing Delivery Challenge where they packaged an order and had to deliver it to different stations. Next, a team member had to participate in the K&N and Total Seal Ring Toss Challenge where they had to throw a hula-hoop that looked like a Total Seal piston ring over a stack of K&N oil filters. Following the ring toss was the ARP Bolt Matching Challenge where team members had to thread the right size and pitch ARP bolt into a series of nuts. The ARP Bolt Matching Challenge kept competitors on their toes since they had to search through the massive ARP Bolt Bin to find the bolts they needed.

The Nuts And Bolts Of The $10K Drag Shootout 

Speaking of nuts and bolts, ARP supplied an array of fasteners for the $10K Drag Shootout. Adding parts to cars during the $10K Drag Shootout can get tricky, so having quality products to use like what ARP makes allows teams to work quicker. Each of these cars required different fasteners and because ARP has a wide range available, the bolt bin was a team’s best friend. They had access to the bin each day to get what they needed for different situations that arose.

Besides having the bolt bin at their disposal, the $10K Drag Shootout teams could also use different ARP bolt kits for their builds. This was particularly important for items related to the engine, since these mills are going to be pushed to their limits where the stock hardware wouldn’t cut it. The teams used things like head bolts, head studs, main studs, crankshaft bolts, header bolts, flexplate bolts, and bell housing bolts from ARP on their vehicles.

After the bolt match, each team’s driver had to ride a miniature bicycle through the course to take on racing legend “Big Daddy” Dwayne Gutridge in a practice tree showdown (aside from the Dream Team who faced a member of the Horsepower Wars staff to avoid bias). Once the driver has beaten Gutridge three times in a row they had to pedal the bike to the parked 1979 Cutlass, where it must be pushed across the lot to the starting line and back. Finally, the driver must ride their bike back into the shop and hit a VP Racing Fuels drum to stop the clock.

At the conclusion of the $10K Olympics, Team Enemies Everywhere finished in fourth place with a time of 17:34 and Team Midwest Mayhem came in third, stopping the clock with a time of 13:55. Each of these teams efforts was seriously hampered by penalties incurred during the competition.


When it came time to announce the winner, things got interesting, as amazingly, Team Bigun and The Dream Team had tied with a time of 13:30. To break the tie, drivers Keith Berry and Lyle Barnett headed back to the practice tree for a best two-out-of-three series to determine who would become champion of the $10K Olympics. After a few tense moments, Lyle was able to defeat Keith and picked up the win for Team Bigun, earning them the right to select the first vehicle.

Team Bigun unsurprisingly chose the S10 as their vehicle of choice, while The COMP Cams Dream Team went with the Mustang. Midwest Mayhem picked the ugly-duckling 1979 Oldsmobile, leaving Team Enemies Everywhere with the 1998 Camaro.

What Team Bigun didn’t know was a massive curveball was coming their way in the form of a ragged 1982 Granada station wagon. As the teams were getting ready to move their vehicles inside to begin work, Gutridge, a thorn in Team Bigun’s side a year ago on and off the racetrack, brought the Grenada around the corner and presented it to Team Bigun. After taking possession of the wagon, Lyle promptly roasted the tires right off of it.

Now that all of the teams have their vehicles, they have just 10 days to turn them into the mightiest racecar possible. There will be plenty more challenges coming to the teams as they begin the build phase. You won’t want to miss a single episode of the $10K Drag Shootout because you never know what will happen, as the season premiere proved. All of the action can be seen each week on Horsepowerwars.com as a new episode goes live.

The $10K Drag Shootout: 2 is made possible with the support of a number of industry giants, including Summit Racing EquipmentCOMP Cams, K&N Filters, MAHLE, Moser Engineering, BMR SuspensionVictor-Reinz Gaskets, SpeedWire, Total Seal, US Gear, Spectre Performance, E3 Spark Plugs, E3 Ignition Components, PRW, ARP, Fragola, Aerospace Components, Lucas Oil, DynaBatt, Mickey Thompson Tires, Moroso, and VP Racing Fuels.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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